Getrag's All Wheel Drive MINI In-Depth


Last year Getrag showed off it’s all-wheel drive MINI prototype at several industry only events throughout the world. There they not only demonstrated the car first hand, but delivered test data that demonstrated the benefits of the Getrag AWD system known as Twinster. The system has been designed for use on a number of different platforms and theoretically for a number of different automotive manufacturers. These presentations were mainly meant to sell the system to OEM manufacturers. However what makes this so fascinating for MINI owners is the fact that Getrag exclusively used a MINI Cooper S for all of their drivetrain testing.

MotoringFile has recently obtained this test data (in the form of a PDF presentation) that was passed out at one of these events. While the presentation uses industry jargon that may be a bit over the head of some of our readers, it does give us an overall impression of the performance that the AWD Twinster MINI is capable of. Interestingly they not only compare the Twinster to the normal front wheel drive MINI but to several other AWD configurations as well. There’s even a rear wheel drive version that is referenced!


The presentation starts out with a simple question. Why a MINI for demonstration purposes. Here’s Getrags answer:

  • FWD with East-West Engine
  • Cooper S stands for Freudeam Fahren (Fun to drive)
  • More power than suitable for FWD ( >160 HP )
  • No AWD available
  • Package VERY tight = 4WD Version is challenging
  • Benchmark for Vehicle Dynamics
  • Objective comparison of different driveline configurations in one vehicle
  • Influence on traction
  • Influence on vehicle dynamics
  • How much improvement does each system deliver?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the winner was the Twinster AWD setup. Here’s their conclusion:

The TWINSTER showed the best performance of all tested systems:
  • Best cornering performance by Active Yaw function
  • when cornering
  • lowest steering angle
  • highest Lateral Acceleration
  • best handling performance
  • noticeable reduction of steer in understeering under acceleration while cornering
  • Best Traction performance by:
    • using dynamical weight increase on the primarily driven axle during acceleration
    • on split-µ the system acts like a combination of axle locking differential and hang on coupling

    So for those that have been wanting to know the ins and outs of the Getrag AWD system, here’s your chance. You can download the entire presentation in PDF format below:

    [ Getrag AWD Study ] .8 MB

    Of course none of this officially means that (A) we will eventually see an AWD MINI or (B) this will be the system that is used. But all that said, BMW has partnered with Getrag for years when it comes to the drivetrain area of it’s cars. Further, this system is well engineered and very much performance oriented, both prerequisites for BMW and MINI.

    (It may help in reading the presentation that the “µ” symbol stands for grip.)

    Written By: Gabe

    • http://www.myspace.com/kikaz KiKaZ

      the mini is just unbelievable… it comes with features, quoted from miniusa*, “as a sports car would or should have”.the 2002 model in the kelly blue book, used and w/ 50k mi. still runs for $20,000, so the mini is a great investment… and ofcourse the mini should come in a awd model, that would be awesome for us racers…you guys know we didn’t just buy the mini for its good looks, but also because it is an all out performer. i love this car and lets just hope an awd model comes out or atleast an addition will soon be available. thanx you guys for all your inputs, it was great info and support. keep the mini love alive and going strong.


      much luv________KiKaZ

    • Me

      Mark…..But yet my Mini takes out a type r. So whats your point. Its just another Honda which everyone has…..A Mini is unique and you dont see them ALL over the place.

    • Al Rondeau

      I want 2, where do I sign, I just bought a new 05 MCSc and was trying to convince my wife to buy one, we have 6 vehicles, 2 MCS AWD would replace 5 of them, she has a Z28 and a Jimmy for the Winter, I have a ZR1 and an Envoy for the winter, but bought the MINI as my daily commute but I also have an old beater I take to work because I find the cement powder to harsh on my new MINI, but give me an AWD Mini and I’d buy a car cover and drive it all year around, no more SUV, no more beater, no more Z28 and Jimmy, that would be so cool having only 3 cars in the garage instead of 6 and small ones that is, WOO HOO!!!, where do I sign, GIME! GIME! GIME! I want 2 and I want them now!

    • Colin_P

      I have been / am / and will continue to be obsessed with a RWD or AWD Mini cooper. However, I have a few questions/opinions.

      First- most people should realise that the image of a RWD Mini as portrayed in the PDF was in a two-sided coin fashion. What I mean is, they push oversteer in a negative light, and speak of sliding out in corners, and yet, name me one highperformanc RWD car that doesn’t want to kick the back end out at 90MP/H.

      Secondly- A JCW kit on an AWD, or better yet, a Turbo’d/super’d Mini would be amazing (it’s been done – http://www.cardomain.com)

      Third- While having this option as an aftermarket one, with Mini willing to back up their JCW package – the term ‘warrenty’ comes to mind (I would sure hate to loose it due to a AWD conversion). This can however go both ways in that Mini may do somehting to the design to tone it down (as they say with the JCW package – it’s a [*key word here] SAFE way to enhanse your Mini –

      Fourth- Has anyone contacted Getrag about their project? I’d like to hear what the designers themselves actuially have to say about their creation, as opposed to looking at skewed graphs (I say skewed because if you advertise your product negatively, you might as well catch the next train out of there).

      Colin P.

    • Berthil

      Getrag has published a press release about the Twinster technique. MINI is not mentioned in it but I assume it is the same technique as used in the MINI:

    • rex james

      Gidday from Australia,,, lets just get to it !!!! release the AWD – with a 2.0 Lt supercharged motor… Mini should be lookin at giving the oposition a damn good run for their money !!!!! And if you really want it…you will pay for it!!!

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    • Ras427

      i have a 2006 MCS.
      i would love to see a AWD MINI S and wouldn’t think twice about paying 24000 for a base model as long as its residual value remained!

      my S is at the dealers right now getting the JCW put into it!!!!
      i couldnt resist the the kit even though i wont get back close to what i pay for it when i sell my car. thats a luxuary and i will loose money at resale.

      the AWD in a lot of places is more of a necessity than a luxuary(especially if you drive the car every day). the AWD system will maintain its resale value just like all other coopers (except JCW).

      we got 2-4″ of snow the other day, my mini’s first snowfall!!!

      while my MCS handles great in any weather it deffinately cant barrel through even 2″ without loosing grip. it feels safe and still a blast to drive but leaves a lot to be desired in a snowstorm.
      all i could think of was how much fun it would be to be ripping through the snow in an AWD MCS!!!! (im deffinately spoiled because my last 2 cars were Audis that rocked it in the snow) . the people who think AWD can be done without probably are never in snow! i would love to see a AWD MINI S and wouldn’t think twice about paying 24000 for a base model as long as its residual value remained!

    • Paul

      There is more to it than just blasting through the snow. I live in the mountains and deal with snow every year. When it does snow the cooper stays in the garage and we take the jeep everywhere. I would love to buy an AWD cooper! (It would still sleep in the garage in the winter, it’s all the cinders and crap they dump on the roads that tears up your car) The advantages on all kinds of roads and conditions are worth the price. Hit a small patch of ice, rain, oil, sand….and AWD can save your butt! The Greatest advantage to AWD (in my opinion) is that you can EFFECTIVLY put much more power to the ground in an AWD car than you can in either a FWD or even an RWD car. …..I can hear the screaming now…”But the Enzo and Mclearen F-1 put down over 600 Hp and both are RWD!” Yes I know. I’m not saying that RWD doesn’t work I just saying AWD allows any given car to use its power more effectively. Besides we will NEVER see a factory RWD Cooper. BMW obtained Mini so they could make a FWD car. AWD is our only hope so visit your mini dealer and ask when you can buy one. Also I would love to see a 2.0L or 2.2L motor (what’s BMW’s obsession with 1.6L?). All aluminum, DOHC, 16/20V, built by BMW, maybe by M division for the top of the line Cooper. They could base it on the 4cyl they already have. So let’s see to sum up…2.0L, all aluminum, 220HP, AWD, sub 2500lbs. Let’s call it the Cooper R. R for RALLY, as in WRC! I want to see Coopers flying through the air in Scandinavia.

    • MinMax

      I’m wondering when we might see kit to retrofit this to our MCSs. I’d definitely be interested. Said in the presentation, “Commercially available”. Wonder what they mean by that? If you find any answer to this, please post them. Would love to realize my Dream car. Tks, MinMax

    • Rick

      I have just covered 7000kms in 6 days in a MCS JCW. I took part in the Arctic Challenge 2006. This is a speed limited rally. The rally covered 3 stretches. 1) Non stop Holland – Akaslompolo: Finland (3000km) 2) Finland – Sweden – Norway – Finland: (1500km) 3) Akaslompolo Finland – Holland: (3000km) Needless to say I found out what the limitations of a frontwheel drive are. I absolutely would want to realise Getrags solution on my car.

      As to marketing concerns indeed sales volume might be limited. However what about a retrofit kit like JCW for those who want it? One could then have an efficient production at the same time secure market demand in niches. If it would grow one might take it into production again, just like the JCW set. I might be wrong but it seems that the whole game is about satisfying consumer demand, not realising marketeers dreams.

      The fact that Mini stands for front wheel drive only is marketing bull shit. Mini stands for people who love to drive a fun to drive car. Mini stands for mobile enjoyment without the signalling need to other people that the driver is succesfull (like BMW/Audi) So if Mini are able to offer differentiating cars this will remain a growing brand. If Mini cash on their perceived brand identity with the next generation it will be a car for style lovers only.

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    • Marvin

      The AWD unit, at least in kit form, is not being produced yet. The GETRAG components are off the shelf parts for existing applications. There has been a second car retrofitted with the AWD setup, this one in the US. There were also some tuning enhancements for the engine. Watch out for that red one down south!

    • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

      If Getrag wants to generate some buzz… let me drive it and review it on this site. MINI owners everywhere will be clamoring for it.

    • Minian

      I love my car, since the day I purchased it I felt I would never sell it. Well as soon as I read the PDF about the twinster I knew that I would part with “My-T-Maus.” Then I thought “why should I have to part with my car?” Getrag took an existing platform and added its product to it. Why can’t we have a “bolt-on” and add it to our already loved cars?
      I don’t know about you guy’s, but as soon as I get the pinks for my car it will be twin charged. If I were able to add a twinster to lets saaayyyyyy 350hp, Oh my god!!! R30what?!! Evo who?!! Boxter???? whaaa haahaaa

    • MrSpocksSon

      SIGN ME UP!

      I have a 2003 MCS, and I have been on the fence about getting a new car. I keep checking out other car companies, but the MCS (with all the new refinements since 2003) keep it in the running.

      Ever since I read about the AWD a number of months ago on this site, I have waited to see if this would be an option. FWIW, I am still not sold on the new 07 interior and exterior mods. I think I would cry if I found out that Chris Bangle is in charge of MINI designs. The interior does have a hint of his philosophy with touches of the Z4 interior showing through. Call me old school, but I cannot look at the new Bimmers, so my only choice is the MINI.

      If Bright Yellow and AWD showed back up on the MINI website I would immediately be at the dealer ordering my new MCS w/ AWD.

    • HondaKiller

      Well if everyones interested in having/owning the AWD Conversion Kit for the mini then the mini community should gather up and let BMW, Mini and GETRAG know that the people want this AWD Conversion Kit. The more people jump on the AWD Mini bandwagon! The more they realize that the people want the AWD Conversion Kit the more they will realize that they will have to satisify their customers or risk losing possible customers and/or sales and shit like that!

      If we the people want AWD in the Minis then damn it we should have them. or at least the Conversion Kit! Let the voice of the Mini owners/enthusiast be heard!!

      P.S Is there going to be any electronics and/or complicated systems involved with the mini, if any BMW/Mini needs to take care of those issues. That way the only thing the Mini owner needs to worry about is retrofitting the AWD Conv. Kit!

      Ad:Friends dont let other friends drive pieces of shit!!!

    • Mike

      Wow, an AWD Mini. Perhaps Mini is going to venture out and see what they can accomplish if they were to start a WRC racing team. As long as 60% of the power goes to the rear wheels, it will be a great platform.

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    • ALI

      do you think that there can be a conversion kit built for a honda civic coupe 1996-2000?

    • Ashton

      The twinster on the new mini with power tuned up to 300hp easily reached thanx to the turbo… i can’t wait to be next to a porsche :D

    • Bilbo Baggins

      Just found this article. Great work Gabe. Another, “Well done!!!” for you.

      IT sound delicious. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Twinster will be made available in the R56 MCS, without saddling it with other expensive options.

    • Chris

      WOW! I’ve looked into all wheel drive for my car for a little while and just came across this. I have to know what they use so I can make a Mini AWD. I fancy the rallye golf and sport quattros, but an AWD Mini? forgedaboudit!!!

    • Steven

      I would SELL everything to buy a AWD MINI COOPER S…even if i dont have the money lol. It would be must cooler and faster. Imagine making it twincharged with 400hp and remove the back seats. It would compete realy fast and exotic cars(porsches, ferraris).

    • GermanGuy

      Please dont interchange VW with BMW. VW = Volkswagen (a car for the masses) BMW = Freude am fahren… (ya know what I mean)

      No way BMW releases something like an FWD car that has a connection to the rear axle (R32). It is more likely that the AWD Mini comes with an AWD system that empethizes the back axle. So it would be more like the EVO not like R32!

    • victor

      I say ” build it they will come” i would pay up to 35k for an AWD MCS then just add some lil after market tuning and look out. Damb just tell me where i could buy a kit for my MCS or send me the parts ill feild test it for you. Lord knows i been testing my MCS now and i find it needs an AWD system. Just look how fast the JCW GP mini’s went and they just lost the back seat got a few number stickers exclusive wheels and a wing oh ya and like 20 hp moore. I think i added 20hp to my MCS just by putting air in my tires. J/K but We the MCS drivers NEED an AWD system PLeese make it available.

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    • victor

      AWD!!!Awd!!!!Awd!!!! MINI needs awd. I own an 06 mcs with just a couple of minor upgrades and found for the MINI tuner crowd to really enjoy there MINI mods they/we definatly need an awd MINI. I have other performance parts but haven’t installed them due to lack of traction. you just can’t get the MINI fwd to hook up. oh ya and some kind of tinny ultra light spare tire wouldn’t be a bad idea. and gp parts over the counter would be nice. MINI wouldn’t sell me the gp wing :( the only wing that looks nice on the car. id also like to buy the gp side skirts. back to thw awd id rather buy a awd kit for my MINI than some extra wide front tires that will make it look like it deformed. make a kit available or give us some parts #’s or list I wouldn’t want to trade my MINI 06 for one of those look alike 07 and up MINI’s. the only good thing about the big goon is the turbo and streight out exaust. If you ask me the new design looks MINI but is a s%&t design. if I was incharge of MINI production. the new07 and up MINI would go back to the drawing board. although the clubman is done well. keep redoing it and your gonna have a one of them really big ford things. MINI should sue ford for selling a big goon version. I could sit here for ever talking about what would be nice to have,or see on the MINI. but I don’t get paid for that. next on my list cosworth head,biger t-body,injectors, and awd??? by M7? moss? getrag dirrectly? MINI?

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